Today has to be a short entry because this working girl’s got stuff to do in the morning and needs a full night’s sleep.
I’ve made my way to the sixth Goal already, so today: Discuss Goal of the Witch #6: Keep your words in good order.
I think there are many ways to interpret this one, which is maybe why it was so difficult for my friend to help me translate into a foreign language. She asked me, “So it means, like, watch what you say?” and I said, “Um…I guess? Kind of….” So perhaps I don’t have a firm grip on this one either, but I’ll give it a shot.
Cutewitch772 started analyzing this one with the statement, “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all,” and I think that’s a good place to start. As Witches (even those who don’t care about the Wiccan Rede), we often adhere to the idea of harming none. It’s such an important idea that it often gets put into the end of spellwork, so that our intention is clear. I’m going to again refer to the everyman’s (or everyWitch’s?) author, Ellen Dugan. She often gives nice stock phrases to say during ritual or for spells, and that woman has come up with about a dozen ways to fit the idea of “and it harm none, so mote it be” into rhyming couplets. It’s an attractive little way to end your words, like the flourish at the tail of a really beautiful pen stroke. And it simply helps to tie up loose ends, so that your harmless little prosperity spell doesn’t deliver by killing your wealthy relative who happened to leave you in their will (I mean, it’s probably rarely so dramatic, but haven’t we all learned something from The Monkey’s Paw?).
There are more magickal reasons to watch your words. Again, in Ellen Dugan’s book Natural Witchery (where would I be without dear Ellen? I think I’ve cited her about fifty times in these blogs. Don’t worry, I’m reading other authors too, but I just find Ellen’s quips particularly memorable), our Witchy author talks about her daughter’s senior year of high school, when a boy asked her if her mom was a Witch, and her daughter quickly denied it. When Ellen’s daughter confessed to her mom about this encounter, Ellen chided her daughter about lying, since lying lessens the power of a Witch’s words. She went on to say that this was not so well-received by her daughter, and I’ll be honest, I’ve gotta side with her daughter on this one. Having my mom chastise me for something like that, especially when she’s the one who’s gone out and become a bestselling author and made my life a bit more complicated, is probably the last thing I’d want to hear at a moment like that. But perhaps I’m biased, being much closer to a teenager in age than to, presumably, very adulty Ellen Dugan.
That being said, I think Ellen makes a good point. Witches often rely on words, and if you lie about something, immediately that creates a disconnect between what comes from your lips and what is reality. And, if you’re trying to affect reality by what comes from your lips (magickally), you probably should go for the strongest connection possible. Besides, lying kind of does a number on your spirit. I’ve had a couple situations in this foreign country where I’ve either had to lie about something or just kind of clam up, due to politics or negativity toward my views (and, as you know, I’m a closeted Witch, so my religion is currently “Yeah, I’m a Catholic…”), and that sucks. I’m generally a very open person, and I don’t like doing stuff that’s against my nature. So even though I’m totally on the same page with Ellen’s poor daughter, I gotta say that maybe mom does still know best.
One more thing about your words, and not so much in the magickal sense this time: I think if you truly want to embody the idea of harming none, you have to consider what you say. That means that you maybe do your best to avoid slurs, knowing that someone could be offended. Maybe you try to use person-emphasized language, like “people experiencing homelessness” instead of “the homeless,” or “person with autism” instead of “autistic person.” If someone tells you something offends them, make a note of it, and try not to say it again. My friend is a transitioning transgender male, and when he talks about people using his deadname, whether by accident or on purpose, or misgendering him, I can tell that that pain is so hard to endure. He’s fought a long battle to be where he is, and yet people can’t do the simple thing of taking the “s” off of “she.” And, even though I personally like swearing, and don’t particularly like to censor my words, if I have a friend who I know gets offended by hearing curses, I’ll tone it down. Why make them uncomfortable, just so I can throw around a couple of four-letter words?
And, ultimately, I think one of the other most powerful things we can do is not hold everything back, but rather let it out–admit when you’re wrong, say you’re sorry. As much as people like to share that imagery of a cracked mirror with a Band-Aid on it and go, “Yeah, this is what ‘sorry’ means–nothing,” I have to say, when you make a mistake, it is so much better to try to correct it than to leave it festering. If I slip up and drop the f-bomb in front of my ultra-Catholic friend, I will do my best to go back and fix it. A simple, “Sorry, ‘fudge,’ sorry–” can actually mean something. It’s like us language teachers say–if the student says it wrong the first time, give them a moment. If they go back and correct the mistake on their own, that’s the true knowledge, and the true moment of learning.
Well, this was a bit longer than I anticipated, but somehow I liked what I had to say more than in the last post. Maybe I think about speech a lot. Could it be because I teach English? Nah….
Have a wonderful evening, everyone.
By the way, check out Cutewitch772 on YouTube and at her blog. She did an interpretation of the 13 Goals of a Witch, which I’ve been reading as I’m doing my own. I can’t post the link because it will reveal which country I’m residing in, but you can Google “cutewitch772 blog” and it’ll come up.